CEQA Reform Advances in CA Legislature, Likely to Become Law
"After a variety of setbacks, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is doggedly moving forward with bills to reform the California Environmental Quality Act and revive redevelopment," reports Bill Fulton. "Both bills – SB 731 for CEQA and SB 1 for redevelopment – have cleared the Senate and are now pending in the Senate [?]."
"The CEQA bill is more likely to be enacted into law," says Fulton. "Steinberg deliberately created a consensus bill with little opposition and it passed the Senate 39-0. The redevelopment bill – a rerun of last year’s SB 1156, which passed the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown – passed the Senate 27-11 on a party-line vote and Brown may well veto it again."
"Perhaps the biggest CEQA change called for in SB 731 is the creation of state significance thresholds for parking, transportation, and noise," Fulton explains. "The bill would allow local governments to create stricter standards – but one can imagine quick a battle at the Natural Resources Agency and the Office of Planning & Research over whether the state thresholds should be strong or weak. In addition, the bill would ditch aesthetics as a CEQA issue."
A more thorough evaluation of SB 731 can be found here.